The Graying of the Priesthood

I've written several times before about the decline of the Catholic church in the West. But today, I want to shine a spotlight on one corner of the world to study a lesser-known but extremely important symptom of that decline. This was brought to my attention by the journalist and atheist Dick Gross, author of the amusingly and aptly titled column Godless Gross, in an essay commenting on this article from the newspaper The Age.Unlike most First World countries, Australia's Catholic population … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Answers Your Sex Questions

Gather round, readers! I've got a real treat in store for you, because today the Roman Catholic Church is going to answer all your questions on dating and sex. Yes, that's right - if you've ever wanted your raunchiest, most explicit questions about human intimacy answered in full, uncensored detail by a group of elderly white men who are also lifelong celibates, today is the day you've been waiting for.First of all, a reader writes in with this dilemma:When pregnant, I have am prone to … [Read more...]

Your Weekly Catholic Scandal Update

It hasn't been a good few weeks for the Catholic church. Every time you turn around, it seems, new repercussions of its conspiracy to protect child molesters are piling up somewhere in the world. Even I've had trouble keeping up with it all, so here's a post to collect the latest news.First, there's the Netherlands, where the media has reported that one of the country's archbishops personally arranged to shield a pedophile priest by moving him to a different parish. This is nothing new, given … [Read more...]

The Smoking Gun of Catholic Culpability

The steady drip, drip, drip of documents showing the Vatican's complicity in a worldwide child-rape scandal is ongoing. And the most recent drop to fall was a huge one:By 1996, an advisory committee of Irish bishops had drawn up a new policy that included "mandatory reporting" of suspected abusers to civil authorities. The letter, signed by Archbishop Luciano Storero, then the Vatican's apostolic nuncio — or chief representative — in Ireland, told the Irish bishops that the Vatican had res … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Witchcraft is now a recognized profession in Romania, subjecting its practitioners to income tax. Witches who are unhappy about this are responding pretty much like you'd expect.• A female activist in Israel faces prison time for praying at the Wailing Wall. The telling quote:"The religious world in Israel has become more and more extreme," Mrs Hoffman said. "Much like in Islam, religiosity is now measured by the distances at which women are kept from society."• A … [Read more...]

Abortion Care at Catholic Hospitals

"When There's a Heartbeat: Miscarriage Management in Catholic-Owned Hospitals." American Journal of Public Health, vol.98, no.10 (October 2008).While writing my recent post about how the Catholic church ordered a hospital to let a pregnant woman die, I came across this letter from the ACLU about hospitals' legal obligation not to deny life-saving care. And I noticed that the letter mentioned an article in the American Journal of Public Health about "religiously-affiliated hospitals denying … [Read more...]

The Dignity of Human Life

I've been criticizing the Roman Catholic church a lot this year, but I can't help it: every month, they're in the headlines again with some new outrage that I can't let pass. And now they've done it again.In November 2009, a woman - three months pregnant, and already a mother of four - came to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. She was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening complication of pregnancy that can lead to stroke or heart failure. Her condition was worsening, and … [Read more...]

Atheists Haven’t Forgotten Poland

I've mentioned in the past that as the Catholic church dwindles and ages, it's increasingly having trouble finding enough people who want to join the priesthood, and it's relying heavily on the few Catholic-majority countries remaining, such as Poland, that are net exporters of priests. At the time, I mused:Even former Catholic strongholds such as Italy and Spain, the article points out, have only a 10-20% rate of church attendance. In this respect, it seems that Europe is leading the way; … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

If blogging was my full-time job, I'd probably have written a post about each of these stories! As it is, I leave you with some food for thought - and there's a virtual banquet this week:• In the U.K., more and more decaying churches are being converted into homes - a fitting use for these still-beautiful buildings, in my opinion.• According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, gay teens are more likely to be punished by schools and courts than their straight peers. One wonders if … [Read more...]

Caution: The Pope Is Coming!

Beware! You could lose your job for reposting or passing on the following image:This altered image, which looks to me like a perfectly reasonable and important warning to children, got a man fired from his job - specifically, Hugh Dallas, an official for the Scottish Football Association, who was fired this week after forwarding this picture in an e-mail in reference to the Pope's recent visit to that country.I've read several news articles about this, none of which make it clear whether … [Read more...]


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